Good Shepherd

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

      Amid the joy and exhaustion of spreading the “Good News,” our Blessed Lord knew that His disciples needed time for rest and renewal.  Did He not invite them to come away to a quiet place from time to time for just such peacefulness (Mark 3:7)?  In that solitude they had time to listen and concentrate on the Master’s voice, and then go back into daily life to live and witness the Gospel.

      You are His evangelists today by virtue of Baptismal grace and the power of the Holy Spirit in your lives, ever fortified by the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and most especially the Holy Eucharist.  Nonetheless you too need time to listen to the Master’s voice and be refreshed and renewed.  This week we have an opportunity to accept our Lord’s invitation to the Parish Mission.  We are especially blessed to have Father Bill Garrott, O.P. to conduct the four evening sessions.  Each evening Father will lead the Rosary beginning at 6:45 PM, followed by a lively and uplifting inspirational talk.  While hearing confessions the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed for our adoration.  We will conclude with Benediction, closing at 8:00 PM.

      On Wednesday evening we have our closing Mass of the Mission, and of course we will be preparing for the 25th Anniversary celebration of our Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel on Sunday, May 3, at the 10:30 AM Mass at St. John’s church.  Let us have a great witnessing of Faith as we welcome Bishop Bambera and joyously praise the Lord with grateful hearts.  Following Mass we will process to St. Mary Magdalen and gather on the green next to the Parish Office (weather permitting) for Benediction and the reposing of the Blessed Sacrament in the Eucharistic Chapel.  Remembering that it is the month of May which is dedicated to our Lady, we ask her blessing upon all of our endeavors.  May she grace us with her presence as we honor her Son, and look kindly upon us, her devoted children.

With blessings,

Fr. Langan

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You are Witnesses of This!

 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

      In today’s Gospel account of Our Lord’s Resurrection Jesus ends with a very direct and powerful statement: “You are witnesses of this,” namely, that He is alive and with us.  The order was given and still resounds that we are to make Him known, most especially in the “Breaking of the Bread,” now understood as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – the Holy Eucharist.  More and more His Apostles and disciples came to realize that through the re-presentation of Calvary and the Resurrection that indeed Jesus would always be in our midst.

      In just two weeks we will celebrate in a special way this fundamental belief, and we will give witness as well as giving thanks that the Lord has NEVER left us.  The 25th Anniversary of our Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel is a time of great rejoicing, and a fitting way to prepare for it is our participation in the Parish Mission given by Father Bill Garrott, O.P.  For several weeks now we have been publishing this event, and, hopefully, many will take the time for solid spiritual refreshment.  Just as we need to regularly nourish our bodies with good food, so too our spirits need refreshment and nourishment from time to time.  How many of us may be “running on empty” when it comes to the spiritual life.  That emptiness creates a vacuum which can easily be filled with bad food and ill-nourishment thus bringing a sickness to our souls.

      Therefore, I invite you to come for a renewal – a recharge – a true refreshment for your spiritual life.  Let us renew our enthusiasm and joy in being a Catholic Christian.  Bring friends, neighbors, and especially those who have become estranged from their Mother, the Church.  Don’ t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and invite a hungry soul to the place of true and everlasting nourishment. “Be a WITNESS to all of this,” so says the Lord.

With Blessings,

Fr. Langan

Divine-Mercy-Sunday

Let those who fear the Lord say, “God’s mercy endures forever!”

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

      Today, the Octave of Easter, is Divine Mercy Sunday.  This special feast was instituted by St. John Paul ll during his pontificate.  Recently we commemorated on April 2nd the tenth anniversary of his passing into the “Father’s house,” and rejoice in the acclamation of his sainthood this past year.  He, along with St. Faustina, are the apostles of Divine Mercy.  Thus on part of this special day Mother Church, through the successor of St. Peter Pope Francis, extends a plenary indulgence which is the negation of all temporal punishment due to sin.  Sadly, we often forget that though God is all merciful to the repentant sinner, He is also just.  Jesus our Savior died to conquer sin, but as people who understand that satisfaction must be made for the consequence of sin, for example hurting another person’s reputation by gossip and idle talk, there needs to be on the part of the repentant sinner an act of justice.  The purifying fires of purgatory ordinarily accomplish this.  However, from time to time we are given great opportunity to have this justice satisfied by a plenary indulgence.

      Divine Mercy Sunday is one occasion to receive this privileged grace and forgiveness.  That we might be well prepared to receive this grace certain conditions are necessary: 1) within a three week period making a sacramental confession; 2) the intention to renounce sin and to avoid falling into it, especially habitual sins; 3) prayer for the Holy Father – the Apostles Creed, Our Father and Hail Mary – which we will pray following our Saturday Vigil and Sunday Masses; 4) and, if possible, participation in Divine Mercy celebrations.  Here in our parish that begins today at 2:00 PM in St. Mary Magdalen Church.  Once again our loving God extends His mercy to us in order to bypass purgatory.  He again in this special way “pays our debts.”  Let us try to make every effort to glorify Him by participating in the graces offered to us.

      As I mentioned after the Easter Masses, I again extend my profound thanks in my name and Father Reichlen’s to all who gave so much of their time and talents for our glorious celebrations this past week.  Your extraordinary efforts give witness to your love of God and these combined churches of St. John the Evangelist Parish. As you have praised the Lord so selflessly, may He reward you with abundant graces and blessings.

Christ is Risen, Alleluia!

Fr. Langan

Easter Triduum

2015 Holy Week and Easter Schedule

Holy Thursday (April 2nd)

Good Friday (April 3rd)

  • 7:25 AM Morning Prayer, St. Mary Magdalen Church
  • 9:00 AM Stations of the Cross and Blessing with the Relic of the True Cross, St. Mary Magdalen Church, followed by confessions
  • 12:00 PM Celebration of the Lord’s Passion, St. John the Evangelist Church, followed by confessions
  • 3:00 PM Divine Mercy Novena, St. John the Evangelist Church
  • 5:30 PM Stations of the Cross, St. Joseph Church
  • 7:00 PM The Office of Tenebre, St. John the Evangelist Church

Holy Saturday (April 4th)

  • 11 AM Blessing of the Easter food baskets, Holy Family Hall, followed by confessions in St. John the Evangelist Church.
  • 8:00 PM Vigil Mass of the Holy Night of Easter, St. John the Evangelist Church (*please note that there is no other Saturday evening Mass this night)

Easter Sunday (April 5th)

Confessions This Week

  • Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday immediately before and after daily Mass at St. Mary Magdalen
  • Monday 5-5:30 PM and 6:30-7 PM at St. Mary Magdalen
  • Holy Thursday 10:00 AM – Noon at St. Mary Magdalen
  • Good Friday after 9:00 AM Stations of the Cross, St. Mary Magdalen
  • Good Friday after the Noon Passion Service, St. John the Evangelist
  • Holy Saturday after the 11:00 AM blessing of food baskets, St. John the Evangelist

Happy Easter!

Holy Week

Holy Week 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

      Hosanna to the Son of David – blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Today commemorates our Divine Savior’s kingly entrance into the holy city of Jerusalem and the accomplishment of our Heavenly Father’s will.  God has sought out this sinful human race and bluntly tells us: “This is how much I love you: I am willing to sacrifice My own Son for your salvation.”  What more, dear people, could convince us?  Thus so meekly we raise our blessed palms to honor and praise our Victorious King.  This action on our part is our pledge to remain faithful to Christ even unto death.  How many of our fellow Christians elsewhere in the world, the Middle East and Africa, may not have palms to raise, but indeed are being faithful to Christ in the midst of terror, torture and deprivation?  May we be one with them.

      Palm / Passion Sunday begins the week of “Pass-overs” – our Lord’s and our own.  Everything we do by the way of liturgy and prayer effects our oneness with the Lord.  Following are the days we call holy because they make us holy when we participate in them:

      On Tuesday, March 31, Bishop Bambera summons his priests to join him in the consecration of the new Sacred Oils used in Baptism, Confirmation and the Anointing of the Sick.  The Chrism Mass is celebrated at 4:00 PM in our Cathedral of St. Peter, Scranton, and all the faithful of the diocese are welcome and encouraged to participate and to pledge their support of the priests as they renew their priestly vows during this Mass.

      The Passion of Our Lord dominates these high holy days – The Sacred Triduum (three days) begins Holy Thursday with Morning Prayer at 7:25 AM.  On Holy Thursday evening at 7:00 PM we will have the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at St. John’s Church, wherein we commemorate Our Lord’s institution of the Holy Eucharist; the New Priesthood of the New Covenant; and the Mandatum: to love one another as Jesus loves us as evidence by His washing the feet of His disciples.

      Good Friday begins with Morning Prayer at 7:25 AM.  The Way of the Cross will be held at 9:00 AM in St. Mary Magdalen Church, followed by the blessing with the relic of the True Cross on which Our Savior died.  The celebration of the Passion begins at noon at St. John’s.  We go in heart and mind to Calvary that we may be cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb; at 3:00 PM we begin the Novena and Chaplet of Divine Mercy which culminates on the octave of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday.  Good Friday evening at 7:00 PM in St. John’s we chant the most ancient and hauntingly beautiful dirges of the burial of Christ in the Office of Tenebrae.

      On Holy Saturday we greatly and prayerfully prepare for the great and glorious Vigil of Easter, beginning at 8:00 PM in St. John’s Church.  During this night of nights we recall the history of our salvation and renew all things in Christ Resurrected.  These are the days most important in the spiritual life of each one of us.  Let us, therefore, make every effort to be with our Lord and be filled with the graces that come from celebrating these holy days.

With blessings,

Fr. Langan

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“Father, glorify your name!”

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

      On this Fifth Sunday of Lent we sense the change of mood as we approach the great and glorious feast of Easter – just two weeks away.  We know that before the days of glory come the agony and the cross.  The life of our Lord Jesus is the pattern for our own lives as we make the passages from darkness into light, wherein we gain the strength and stamina to meet daily challenges.  Christ has always provided the means, both in the Holy Eucharist and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

      So often we carry interior burdens that our Blessed Lord does not want us to carry.  Through the ministry of His priests, He guarantees that the burden and darkness will be lifted.  So it is, indeed, time to ask ourselves that important question: “Am I ready?” – ready to be confronted by the Lord, ready to meet Him should He call.  Available in all of our churches are pamphlets to assist in making a good confession, beginning with an examination of conscience.  This first step of taking an honest look at ourselves will make this encounter with Christ joyful and peace-filled.  He waits to give us mercy.  Do not hesitate!

      Furthermore, it is time to arrange our busy schedules that we may fully participate in these days of grace.  Next Sunday, Palm/Passion Sunday, is the entranceway into Holy Week.  Think of arranging a family pilgrimage to our Mother Church, St. Peter’s Cathedral, for the Mass of Holy Chrism on Tuesday, March 31, at 4:00 PM.  What a beautiful experience it is as Bishop Bambera, along with the priests of the diocese, blesses the new oils used for the sacramental life in our parishes.  It is also a time for priests to renew their vows of dedication to the Lord.

      Above all we must not forget the Sacred Triduum, beginning with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening; Stations of the Cross, the Celebration of the Passion, and Tenebrae on Good Friday; and then the Easter Vigil when all things are renewed, and we welcome into our family of faith Christine and Rodger who will share with us at the table of the Lord.  Faithful Catholics should make every effort to participate in all or at least several of these solemn days. Grace is being poured out upon grace.

      With Blessings,

Fr. Langan

Cherry Blossoms

Laetare!

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

     On this Laetare, (Rejoice!) Sunday we have come to the halfway point of Lent.  The rose-colored vestments remind us that bright days are ahead of us as we make our sprint towards Holy Week and the great and glorious days of Easter.  Nonetheless, at this mid-point we must ask ourselves how are we doing with our Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  It is never too late to start if we have been a bit sluggish.  Indeed, the message of today’s Mass is just that – the captives in Babylon are released, and God so loved the world the He gave His only Son!  When we hear of that ancient city of Babylon, we cannot help but think about and pray for our fellow Christians who this very day are suffering for the Faith.  They are held captive in terrorists hands.  What can we do for them?  Daily prayer for them and for the conversion of their captors and tormentors.  Though we sometimes may wonder about the effects of our prayers, we heed the Apostle Paul’s message: “Pray without ceasing.”  Prayer of this nature chips away at the most hardened of hearts.  Think of the great sculptor Michelangelo.  From a rough and ugly piece of rock, his chipping away brought forth the most beautiful and precious work of art.  Prayer is the chisel in our hearts, and only steady and persistent work can bring about something remarkable.

      Again, I encourage you to mark your calendars for our upcoming Parish Mission, April 26,27,28 & 29 (Sunday through Wednesday at 7:00 PM in St. Mary Magdalen church).  Father Bill Garrott, renowned retreat master of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) will be conducting the mission.  His presentations are completely family-oriented, so we hope families will come together each night as they learn how to strengthen their faith and magnify the blessings that come in the sacred vocation of marriage and family life.  This Parish Mission we entrust to the Holy Family, especially under the care of St. Joseph whose Novena we are presently offering.  May St. Joseph, protector of the Holy Family and all families, watch over us all with his fatherly care and concern.

      With Blessings,

Fr. Langan

cleansing of the temple

Destroy this Temple and in Three Days I will raise it up! (Jn 2:19)

 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

      On this Third Sunday of Lent we reflect on God’s forming His covenant with ancient Israel.  The world will come to know the true and living God because the people He has redeemed from slavery will live according to the Ten Commandments which bring order and dignity and true freedom to the human spirit.  Ancient Israel would be preachers of this liberating moral code by putting them into practice.  What was true for them, is indeed, true for us.  All of our moral principles and true justice are founded upon these laws of righteousness.  Our Lord, of course, magnified them by His Sermon on the Mount and the giving of the Eight Beatitudes.  Christ, the new Moses, entrusts this law of charity to us disciples and so like ancient Israel we are called to be preachers of the Kingdom by our practice of the Commandments and the Beatitudes.  During Lent we constantly ask ourselves: “How am I living the divine law personally entrusted to me as a disciple?  How have I lived it or how have I failed it?”  This is the way we examine our conscience in order to make a good confession.

      In less than two months a major event of great significance is taking place in our parish: The 25th Anniversary of our Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel on Sunday, May 3rd.  Already plans are underway and now is the time to mark your calendars and plan on participating in these days of grace.

      First, Fr. Bill Garrott, O.P., a priest of the Order of Preachers – Dominicans will be here to conduct a Parish Mission in preparation for the May 3 event.  Father will speak at all the Masses on the weekend of April 25-26 as a preclude to the Mission.  The Mission begins Sunday evening April 26th at 7:00 PM in St. Mary Magdalen Church and continues on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, April 27 to 29, also at St. Mary Magdalen Church at 7:00 PM.  Father’s talks are all family orientated – children from grade 2 on will be able to enjoy his presentations.  Confessions will be available, as well as Mass and Eucharistic Adoration.  Please plan oncoming to all or any of the Mission sessions for spiritual growth and development and please invite friends, family and neighbors to attend as well.

     The following Sunday, May 3rd, Bishop Bambera will be the main celebrant for the 10:30 AM Mass.  Following the Mass at St. John’s we will have a grand procession to the Perpetual Eucharistic Chapel.  Let us give a great witness to our Faith by gathering as many as possible to accompany Our Lord.  Immediately following, at 1:00 PM we will gather at Lukan’s Farm Resort for a beef and chicken dinner.  Cost per person is $32.00.  Please call the Parish Office, 570-253-4561, to make your reservations and purchase dinner tickets.  We are limited to approximately 150.

      To mark this most important milestone in our parish life a book entitled, “Testimonies of Grace” from our Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel is being compiled.  We ask you to submit on a 81/2 x 11 sheet – typed or written – your personal testimony of grace.  You may or may not sign it.  This book will be included in an album for the Bishop’s blessing and permanently displayed in the chapel.  Please contact Claire Harvey to submit your testimony.  Remember in less than two months much will be taking place.  Make plans now to be with your Bishop, priests and fellow parishioners for this momentous celebration.

      With Blessings,

      Fr. Langan